January, 2014 was hot enough to grind things to a screaming halt. However, the hottest day we saw was right at the start of February.
Believe it or not, it actually got about a half-degree hotter that day… 😦
For the first couple of weeks, we had one Sunday where it was cool enough to actually do anything, so we caught up with veggie patch stuff. That involved the final harvest of things like our potatoes and parsnips.
Last of the parsnip. My foot is there for scale. These last ones were huge!
We did have some wins when it comes to meat self-sufficiency too.
First of all, we took Steak, our last Fresian steer, to “The Other Farm”. He dressed out to 190kg, and the meat was just amazing.
This is the “after picture” of Steak. He was a good boy.
People turn their noses up at the dairy breeds, mostly due to the leanness. Seriously though, this meat is freaking amazing!
One of our Australorps had been clucky too. In fact, she’s been clucky the entire time we’ve had her, and barely leaves the eggs. She’s perma-clucky. Having more eggs than we ever know what to do with, we just let her sit on as many as she wanted. The result was 10 new babies in February.
Our first home-bred chick!
Chicks in the brooder.
The biggest news, however, was our latest litter of piglets! Honey Pig did us proud, and had 11 babies.
The miracle of birth! The mess, gross miracle…
Alert pig. Knackered mum.
That piglet is maybe 3 hours old. They’re adventurous little buggers.
No, that piglet isn’t trying to crawl back in.
We spent a heap of time in with Honey, including getting to watch most of the babies born. One thing I noticed was just how knackered she was after the birth.
Honey Pig absolutely shagged. She was exhausted and high on endorphins. This is the time that gilts lay on piglets.
She was almost in a daze for the first 24 hours, to the point where she was peeing/pooping where she lay and lying in it. As gross as people think pigs are, they just don’t do that kind of thing.
Honey lay on 2 of her babies in that first day, clearly because she was just so tired. After the first 24 hours she perked up, and was super conscientious of where her babies were when she tried to lay down. Still, after losing a couple you get super spooked every time you check on them…
I came in to see this and panic…
… only to see this. I still moved those babies though.
As always, there was one stand-out little piglet. Also, as always, it was the runtiest.
Connie and Struggle. There was some serious bonding going on.
Dad and Gemma were watching Honey Pig do her thing, when Gemma thought she heard little squeals from behind the sleepers we use as lean boards in the farrowing shed. Sure enough, the runtiest piglet had somehow made his way deep behind the sleepers, had probably been there for an hour or two, and wasn’t far from expiring. Dad dragged him out, and he made a good recover. However, he was constantly the source of grey hairs for us all.
This is Struggle, at a day old and after a near death experience. Some piglets never learn.
All-in-all, the piglets were successful. We need to work on our husbandry to reduce the squashing incidences, and I want to work on our runt management, maybe with fostering and supplementary feeding. For the most part, however, this is going very, very well.
A basket of piglets.
Blissed out on mum’s milk.
Of course, the biggest news for the month was that Linhda and I got engaged. I organised a special anniversary night away, and got all of the family together as a surprise. It might not be farm news, but it’s still blog-worthy… 🙂
Yup, I put a ring on it… 🙂